I sit at the computer today, not knowing quite how to put into words what I am thinking, and not knowing if it’s worth sharing, yet feeling compelled to do so, if only for the fact that it forces me to sort my thoughts from my feelings.
I’ve been pondering a lot lately about the peculiar lifestyle of the childless-by-choice.
I, of course, have been childless myself, by careful design even. But I always knew I would someday be the busy mother, wiping noses and tears, covered in kisses and grime, falling into bed deliciously exhausted at day’s end. I knew it.
And now I find myself wondering what I did, what my husband and I did as a couple, with the hours and days and years before we decided to become parents. I know, of course, we had jobs, and hobbies, and plenty of leisure time, as we still do, believe it or not. But I remember nothing, besides building our relationship (which we knew would ultimately lead to family), that was as deeply, satisfying-ly right as parenthood.
While I commend those who have the insight to know that they are not “cut out” to be parents and take pains to prevent that outcome, I also pity them. I truly do. The way a person of faith pities one who refuses salvation.
The poor souls don’t know what they’re missing.
I ache for the knowing that some will never feel the violent glory of childbirth, and snuggle the heaven that is a freshly born baby, that some will never doze with a child at the breast, and wake to a tiny, satisfied face, drooling milk and dozing herself. I ache for the man who never feels his daughter wrap her fingers around his and for the woman who will never hold back tears at hearing her son read his first words.
I know that many deliberately childless people go about their lives pursuing good works. I see them improving the world in large ways and in ways that are large to the small. And still I wonder at the prospect of an entire life lived only for oneself. It’s wrong and I know it. But the childless life, to me, seems shallow and empty. Indeed, to one as whole-heartedly pro-family as myself, it seems highly suspect.
I don’t have a thoughtful and well written conclusion to this rambling. I will say only that I know some wonderful people who had no plans for parenthood, who, in fact, had solid plans against it. God intervened and changed those plans to their unexpected delight. I wonder how many more would be able to see an unplanned child as a blessing. And I wonder at those who don’t see even a planned child as a blessing, but rather a burdensome adjunct to matrimony.
Would you care to share your thoughts?